4 Key Takeaways from the 2019 Players 1st Client Conference

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In collaboration with the Dutch Golf Federation and the National Golf Course Owners Association, Players 1st hosted the annual Players 1st Client Conference in June. Under sunny skies at the National Sports Hub DeWeerelt van Sport in Utrecht, representatives from National Federations and other member golf organisations were brought together in order to share knowledge, case studies, ideas and campaign initiatives, as well as sharing updates since the 2018 Players 1st Client Conference.

With the full support of the eight national federations present, the three-day event was delivered by the delegates themselves, as well as a guest speaker, Dr John Fry, Research Lead for Sport, University Centre Myerscough. Who shared some existing research in the area of women's, girls' and family golf participation. A summary of their research collaboration with the R&A can be found here.

Furthermore, the event welcomed three new attending federations who have recently started a partnership or collaboration with Players 1st. A reflection of the value our clients believe our platform delivers and enabling us to establish new partnerships and continued growth.

Already, it’s clear that the exchange of knowledge across the three day-event was well received, and talks of a host city for 2020 have already begun.

With 12 hours worth of content, the coming days will feature a selection of client conference blog posts summarising the key takeaways from the events as well as the hot topics within golf federations across Europe.

#1 How to make golf accessible to non-golfers

A huge barrier for entry.

It is quite often the case where a central website does not service the consumer, customer or target it audience as it should. In golf, growing participation is a huge issue, and one that should be heightened as a matter of priority across the industry. Countries like Sweden, Germany and England have taken a considered approach to making golf more accessible to non-golfers, and understand that their websites might be the first touchpoint for many potential recruits.

By gathering consistent information and making this easy to access on a single website, the starting point for a potential new golfer is already made to be a positive first step.

Read an elaborated take on how to make golf accessible to non-golfers here.

#2 The Great Entry

New golfers bring new golfers.

At the stage where a new golfer has found a club, and either taken on a membership or started their journey into the club eco-system, it immediately becomes a tipping point for the golf club. The integration experience for any new golfer into a club, or a golfer who has changed clubs, is crucial to their long term satisfaction and eventual loyalty to the club.

During the client conference, the National Golf Federation of Denmark, Dansk Golf Union, shared their strategy to understanding how metrics can be used to identify warning signals ahead of potential ‘new joiner’ churn. The four metrics which were used to explore the integration of new member and their satisfaction were the NPS score, churn rate and the responses to the questions “Sufficient attention towards me” and “feeling integrated in the club”. A minimum benchmark score was determined, and those clubs who did not meet this were offered specific support and a visit from a consultant from the union.

Read an elaborated take on why a positive new member experience is so important here.

#3 How to differentiate between member ‘types’

The need for golf clubs world-wide to understand that there are different ‘types’ of members is evident, and to stop considering them as a single ‘bucket’. There are certainly different types of memberships which are starting to reflect the changes in lifestyle, life stages and time pressures of golfers, but the Dansk Golf Union have identified a key differentiator which could help clubs identify these members using a more considered approach.

Based on more than 12.000 Players 1st responses from 2017, they identified two types of members based on the response to a question regarding their intrinsic value of the importance of the club and participation of activities. The playing ‘profile’ of these groups are similar e.g. number of lessons, frequency of use of training facilities, number of rounds played at home club, and number of green fees paid at other clubs. But, the most significant difference between these two groups is churn, where the more loyal golfers have a churn rate of only six percent compared to the less loyal whose churn rate is 21 percent. By creating personas for these two types of club members, it allows clubs to be more targeted with their marketing and delivery of product to their members, and improve the satisfaction across the collective.

Read an elaborated take on how to create a considered membership proposition here.

#4 What are the opportunities for juniors in golf?

In the field of women’s golf there lies a great potential to grow your golf business as well as your revenue, but it’s not the only possibility as there is plenty of room for potential new junior golfers. Three national federations provided a snapshot of some initiatives that are being delivered nationally within their markets in a bid to attract more juniors to the sport. This range of initiatives are linked with golf clubs, but also within schools, but ultimately their aim is to make golf accessible to juniors, and not just through the traditional means. Having a centralised strategy can often be complex and difficult to implement, however, at the Players 1st Client Conference, these challenges were analyzed and discussed in order to attract more juniors in the years to come.

Keep an eye on our blog in the coming days to get elaborated insights on the above-mentioned key takeaways from the 2019 Players 1st Client Conference.

Read an elaborated take on 3 initiatives growing junior golf participation here.

Morten Bisgaard